Do you snore? Do you often wake up gasping for air?
These can be the signs of an underlying sleep disorder. Your dentist can evaluate you to avoid future health problems. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack. Sleep apnea also impacts your ability to function at your best daily and to enjoy life fully. Treatment for sleep apnea will reduce symptoms and greatly minimize associated health risks.
Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are often the results of soft tissue at the back of the throat collapsing into the airway. When the airway becomes blocked, you may snore loudly or suddenly gasp for air to clear it. This repeated blockage also stops normal breathing or apnea, which is what raises your risk for other conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
What Are the Signs of Sleep Apnea?
There is a range of sleep apnea symptoms, but the most common can include:
- Waking up gasping for air
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Increasing irritability or difficulty concentrating
- Feeling tired or groggy during the day
It is also important to be aware of common risk factors for sleep apnea, which includes being overweight, being a smoker, having a larger neck circumference, and having a family history of sleep disorders. Males over the age of 45 are also at a higher risk if other factors are also present.
The first step towards a diagnosis and possible treatment is an evaluation with Dr. Tu and a sleep study if needed. Prompt treatment can mitigate other health risks.
Treating Sleep Apnea: What are the options?
Treatment for sleep apnea is dependent on the severity of your symptoms. Dr. Tu works with patients who have mild to moderate sleep apnea or who are seeking an alternative after being intolerant of the CPAP.
Dr. Tu offers oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea. It will help your airway remain open during sleep. It works by pushing the lower jaw forward. An oral appliance for sleep apnea will fit much like a sports mouthguard. Most patients tolerate them well and enjoy the freedom they provide during sleep compared to the CPAP. Compliance nightly is important for the best long-term result and the resolution of symptoms.